18 Dec 2003

Fiji's CCF calls for army commander's retention

5:25 pm on 18 December 2003

Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum has joined political leaders and parties in wanting the army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, retained in his post when his contract expires in March next year.

The Forum's executive director, the Rev Akuila Yabaki, says Commodore Bainimarama should remain in office so he can bring the perpetrators of the May 2000 coup and the army mutiny the following November to justice.

Mr Yabaki says the commander has plans to raise the military to greater heights and impose higher standards of professionalism.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, have both accused the government of wanting to get rid of Commodore Bainimarama so high level figures involved in the coup can escape justice.

The Fijian Political Party, the SVT, has made the same accusation.